September 16, 2020

Stop the doom

Doom Scrolling that is. We are all pretty stressed and worried. Pandemic, fires, dangerous air quality, hurricanes, derechos, murder hornets, and more. Let’s face it, 2020 has been a challenging year. It is too easy to keep scrolling, either your smart phone, the internet, television and feel the gloom and doom. Hard to stop once you are there. Evidence shows that can increase our stress. Cutting down the scrolling can help.

Our stress is as much an epidemic as COVID-19. Dentists report a big increase in cracked teeth from everyone grinding their teeth. I am so glad I already have a bite guard.

So what can we do? The New York Times has some advice on establishing a regular routine. Creating routines and rituals can aid in keeping to regular exercise, completing tasks, and feeling more focused. They have other advice for quick resets that can help level set your stress.

Phoning someone, or two, or three. Evidence shows that phone calls and actually hearing someones’s voice, establishes stronger bonds than texting does. It can feel good to do a quick text but the bonds and stress relief are stronger with hearing each others voices. I am checking this out with my own friends this week and I feel better for it.

As silly as the “life hacks” often are when you see them on the internet, I have found this information about “happiness” chemicals interesting. It lists easy ways to raise the level of your most needed neurotransmitters. More information about the neuroscience of happiness is here in this link. And even if they are not 100% correct, the activity themselves are healing. Either, serotonin for mood stabilizing, dopamine for rewards, oxytocin as the love chemical, and endorphin as the pain killer. We can help increase them with simple things like playing with a dog, laughing more, exercising, sitting in the sun, or much more. And of course, chocolate. As we learned in Harry Potter, chocolate always helps after we have seen the Dementers.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and don’t forget the chocolate.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.